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POP INTERVIEW: MTV Host Turned Singer Lenay Dunn

Lenay Dunn’s career took a U-turn when the then-Minnesota college student made her first YouTube video. Now at MTV, where you may have seen her on programs like 10 On Top, she is finding her place in the world as a TV hostess, singer and wife.

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Macy’s American Rag spokeswoman Lenay Dunn’s career took a U-turn when the then-Minnesota college student made her first YouTube video. In the new Internet age where one is discovered online, eyeballs from Redbull’s corporate offices magically arrived on her videos and hired her for their own company. Now at MTV, where you may have seen her on programs like 10 On Top, she is finding her place in the world as a TV hostess, singer and wife.

lenay dunn

You did a quiz for “Seventeen,” where you said that at age 17, “I thought I was going to be a pilot, a piano player, an artist, or a Spanish teacher.” What caused a shift into your current career path? What made you like new things. You did not say, “No, I want to be a Spanish teacher!” when you began doing on air work.
I actually first went to college at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, to be a Spanish Teacher, but then Red Bull called me one day and they were like, “Hi, we’ve seen your Youtube videos – do you want to host shows for us?” And I was like, “Um yes!” So I started missing some school to fly around the U.S., Canada, and Europe to host Red Bull shows. I was like, wait … I can do this as a job? It felt unreal. Then after college I moved to LA for a bit and got a manager, and the rest is history!

Back then, you said, “I took a typing class because a guy I liked was in it.” Using your job as a tool, have you ever gone out of your way to meet anyone whose work you admire?
I have a friend who said the next time I’m in LA that I could come and hang out on set of ‘The Voice” and I’ve always wanted to meet Carson Daly, so I’m pretty excited to take her up on that offer!

How and why were you approached by American Rag? What do you like about your business partnership?
I actually met Mark Silver the head of ‘Factory PR’ while I was out and about in NYC. He knew American Rag was looking for a new face of their brand and put me in the running and I was their first choice! It has been amazing, because they are my first choice place to shop and have been for a long time,

Commuting to work is tons of fun. Do you still live in Nashville part time? Other than New York, where else do you go for work and fun? Why did you choose Tennessee as your primary residence?
I lived in Franklin (right south of Nashville) and flew to NYC every week back and forth for a few years. We still have a house there but JUST got an apartment in NYC a few months ago! Nashville is Music City so that’s why we lived there first – my husband Jason was in the band Hawk Nelson before he left to go solo so we had to be there for that. We also had turned part of our house in TN into a recording studio & both had fun writing and recording music. In other music news I just got a new Taylor guitar, which I named ‘Taylor’ after itself. Taylor’s pretty 🙂

Excluding on air mishaps, what is the weirdest or funniest thing that has ever happened to you at work?
I like playing tricks on our executive producer Jenny. She’s the best. Picture a 12 year old girl’s bedroom and that’s what her office looks like, complete with a ‘WWJBD’ inspired wall (“What would Justin Bieber Do?” sprinkled with JB posters). I got her a Taylor Swift blanket for Christmas, so one day we had Bobby (works on ’10 on Top’ too) sit in Jenny’s chair under the blanket so his face lined up with Taylor’s… and then we found Jenny and told her Taylor Swift is waiting for her in her office. (there’s actually a picture of this on my instagram) http://www.instagram.com/p/TJxh_RwbIk/

Since you were born in Africa and raised in Minnesota, did you relate to the movie “Mean Girls” and all its jokes about the main character moving to the Midwest from Africa?
Yes actually! I’ve gotten that comparison a lot. I even had a friend in grade school ask me why I wasn’t black if I was born there. I still know a few words/phrases from the language ‘Lingala’ spoken in the Congo & was thinking about getting a tattoo of one, ‘Bokasi’, meaning strength (like a small and cursive one on my wrist or something). My younger sister has that tattoo on her neck though so I don’t think she’ll appreciate me copying her lol.

You have done a lot of great work on MTV goofing around, sailing with Zac Efron and so forth. Everyone knows that – and if they do not by now, they shall utilize Google. When you aren’t working, what do you do? Before MTV, what did you like? What don’t we learn about you from seek you on TV about your smarty pants side, hobbies…?
When I’m not working lately I’ve been decorating my new apartment and going to a ton of events around the city. I love decorating! http://www.instagram.com/p/Xylz3gQbGf/ and I love dressing up in and going to fun events. A fun fact about me is that I’m also very good at knocking things over. Especially if I’m meeting you for the first time… “Hi, nice to meet you sorry I just knocked over your water glass or spaghetti on your lap.” I also like writing lists and ideas in new notebooks with colored markers. & going to New York Red Bulls games with my friends .

When are you releasing more music?
Very soon!! I have some exciting music updates and news coming up that I’ll hopefully be sharing in the not-too-distant future! I’ll also be posting any updates on my site LenayDunn.com and, as a side note I started a fashion blog too! It’s called, Imajolie.com. My sister Jayde and I have been having a lot of fun posting on there.

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POP in the Kitchen! The Perfect Snack and Cocktail Pairings.

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POP Goes The Week’s Brian Balthazar is part of the all new Food Network Kitchen App! Cook LIVE alongside Brian as he makes get party food and the drinks that go perfectly with them!

Hey everyone! I’m so excited for this – I was thrilled to be a part of the new app, which is an all new way to cook with your favorite chefs and cooking experts. In the app, you can get the recipe and ingredients and recipe in advance, check the live class schedule, then cook at the very same time as your instructor!

I was fortunate enough to be invited to do a live snack and cocktail pairing, which you can still watch – and cook along with me! Trust me, these all start out as live, which means anything can happen! (I have an adventure with the broiler in one of them!)

Download the app here.

For my recipes, I made a pulled pork toast with queso, sour cream radishes and green onions, along with a smoky mezcal paloma.

Pulled Pork Toasts with Sour Cream, Queso, Radishes and Green onions, garnished with cilantro. The recipe is literally those ingredients stacked onto baguette slices!

In another class, I make lavender honey that gets drizzled right on top of baked brie with herbs, then use that same lavender honey for my own interpretation of a “Bees Knees” cocktail that I call a “Bees Knees Breeze.” I came up with the variation because the original recipe, simply gin, honey and lemon was just TOO strong for me and I found myself always getting plastered!

Check out the gallery of what I made, all available on the FNK app!

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I hope you can check them out, AND all your favorite instructors like Bobby Flay, Giada de Laurentiis and Ree Drummond!

 

 

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Who Is This Brian Balthazar Guy, Anyway?

Did you see Brian on TV today? Wondering who he is? Here’s much more than you wanted to know. They leave the part out that he loves a well mixed Dark And Stormy, but let’s keep things professional…

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You may have seen Brian Balthazar on television this morning, heard him on the radio, or read about some recent developments in the world of media and pop culture. But who the hell is this guy? Brian Balthazar leads a double – triple – okay, maybe quadruple life. Part journalist, actor and comic, he appears on many TV shows as a guest, but is also a developer and creator of several television shows behind the scenes. This when he’s not renovating homes and making snacks for his websites, POPgoesTheWeek.com and Snackist.com.

After launching the fourth hour of the Today Show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, he turned his attention to cable television, overseeing the direction and development of several shows on HGTV, including Flip or Flop, Love It Or List It, Christina On The Coast, House Hunters, Hit Properties with Nathan Morris, Flea Market Flip and dozens more.

As a comic he served as the opening act for Russell Brand In New York City and the MTV series Man and Wife featuring hype man Fatman Scoop.  He has performed at The Comic Strip, Caroline’s On Broadway, Gotham Comedy Club and more.Wendy Williams Show Feb 2013

In addition to being a frequent guest on “The Wendy Williams Show,” (he co-hosted several times during Williams’ three week break) and appearing on the “Today” show, where he guest co-hosted with Jenna Hager-Bush,  Brian has frequently been seen co-hosting the syndicated TV gossip show Page Six TV.

Additionally, he was the sideline reporter for HGTV’s Rose Parade Coverage, hosted the HGTV Special I Bought A Famous House, and has appeared on CBS’s The Talk, HLN’s Showbiz Tonight, MSNBC’s Caught On Camera, The Joy Behar Show, and more.

Brian Balthazar Kathie Lee Hoda

An appearance on the fourth hour of the TODAY show with Kathie Lee and Hoda.

He has also been an emcee for many notable events and sponsors, including work as a brand ambassador for Bombay Company, the co-host of the Miss Tennessee and Miss Mississippi USA pageants, and a red carpet host at the Daytime Emmy Awards.

You may also have seen Brian in some viral videos, most notably a recent parody of Bird Box, and a satirical look at House Hunters’ Writers’ Room.

HGTV – House Hunters Writer’s Room from Buffalo Picture House on Vimeo.

 Brian Balthazar Bombay

Appearing in a series of videos for Bombay Company.

 

Brian has provided analysis, interviews and helped co-host the Tony Awards backstage show. He also followed all the backstage madness at the launch of Fashion Week in New York City while co-hosting the Red Dress Event. He has been a roving reporter for the Dr. Oz show. Earlier in his career he was a features reporter and contributor on NBC, MSNBC, United Airlines In-Flight Entertainment and more.

For A&E network, Brian appeared in an episode of Biography about Jim Carrey. He also provided play by play of some of film’s greatest car chases for a documentary about, well, car chases. (Ask his family and they will tell you: NO one would have expected to see him in a show about cars. We’ll leave it at that.)

Pat-Benatar-Splash

Before ‘finding himself’ professionally, Brian was a singer on a ship, a publicist for a trance medium, an insurance customer service rep, waiter, bartender, activities director, substitute teacher, website programmer, pianist at a camp for spoiled children, and college mascot. None of them worked out. Let’s hope this does.

To contact Brian, email BrianBalthazar@aol.com.

To check out his video clips from NBC, HLN, and MSNBC, click HERE…

And – become his friend on facebook! www.facebook.com/brianbalthazar

For a more extensive listing of his TV appearances visit his IMDB page.

And he’s apparently getting better about Twitter. So he says. He’s @BrianBalthazar.

Thanks for reading POP GOES THE WEEK!

For his TV Appearances, Click on the TV APPEARANCES page.

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‘Saved By The Bell’ Cast Reunited For 30th Anniversary – And I’m So Excited

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If you think your high school experience feels like ancient history then it won’t bring you any comfort to know that Saved By The Bell debuted 30 years ago!

Back in 1989, Saved By The Bell hit the small screen and quickly became a television staple. Over the course of its four seasons, the sitcom followed Zach Morris and his unique blend of friends as they navigated the tricky waters of high school. Everyone had a favorite Bayside Tiger and the series spawned many memorable scenes…but you are a liar if you didn’t say your favorite scene was where Jessie broke down crying after coming to terms with her caffeine pill addiction while crying out the most iconic line ever, “I’m so excited…I’m so excited…I’m so…scared”

 

In any event, some of Bayside’s most memorable students reunited over the weekend to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the hit sitcom. Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Zach Morris), Tiffany Thiessen (Kelly Kapowski), Mario Lopez (A.C. Slater) and Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie Spano) all gathered together to hit us right in the nostalgia. Notably missing were Lark Voorhies (Lisa Turtle) and Dustin Diamond (Screech). Berkley wrote on her Instagram “FRIENDS FOREVER!!!” along with some sweet and fun hashtags. Lopez upped the ante and posted a video recapping the fun time the gang had as they reminisced on the days way back when. WHY WASN’T THIS TELEVISED?!? Many are speculating the reunion to be the beginnings of a reboot or revival but nothing of the sort has yet been confirmed.

 

 

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FRIENDS FOREVER #spousestoo!!!❤️❤️❤️#imsoexcited #buddybands #love #friends #family #life #magic

A post shared by Elizabeth Berkley Lauren (@elizberkley) on

 

 

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Credit card roulette comin up! #OldSchool

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